Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy

Christopher Nolan’s The  Batman Trilogy

By Carlo Leon Sadang | 28 March 2022

Some say that the Batman Saga of Christopher Nolan is the best. It truly depicts the essence of Batman. While it tries to pull the limits of reality and fantasy together the ethos of the story is the eternal struggle between good and evil. This is my personal take on the saga and I would like to focus on the 2nd part of the trilogy: The Dark Knight. I have to agree with the critics being the best Batman iteration. It shows the fundamental battle between good and evil. The title itself is somewhat a euphemism. The traditional knight usually wears shining armor. How can a knight be dark? The movie will answer this question once you have internalized it. 

The Batman Trilogy

How corrupt man has generally become and when the Joker who simply pops out from nowhere becomes king of the underworld this is made possible because of an already rotten foundation that barely keeps social order. Batman can only stop it without breaking his code. He is morally bound to implement justice in his own hands because evil has gone way too far. 

The fundamental flaw I see here is when Batman has the chance to run over the joker who is just a mere mortal like him. That was the scene where the Joker and Batman were on the street and Batman was on his bike and instead chose to not run the Joker over. This was the inherent weakness of Batman who required the Joker to be in a real position of being able to kill him and only then would he resort to lethal action. However, the collateral damage of property to implementing his mission took a backseat. His regard was only for human life. 

 

Perhaps the most disappointing facet was when his true love Rachel upon discovering Bruce was Batman eventually rejected his love. If I’m not mistaken He was willing to give it all up for Rachel. After being the ultimate leader in the struggle of Gotham, he was rejected. Bruce did more than Rachel could ever do for Gotham not only because of the gadgets but because of his willingness to take the battle a notch higher. Rachel lives in the illusion that the current justice system will be able to combat the evil that is now threatening to end the city. 

Harvey Dent depicted the fallen hero. He is a sorry casualty in the battle between good and evil. Some men who do good but get defeated by evil get their hearts ripped off and this is what happened to Harvey when he became the Two-Face. In the battle of good and evil, the importance is to fight until the very end. This is easier said than done but if the battle overpowers you, joining the other side is the ultimate tragedy. The more evil society becomes, the more men will fall and switch sides. This is a reality in this world. Sadly, principles do change when we can’t get what we have.

Then there is Commissioner Gordon. Gordon is a pragmatist. He is more focused on getting the job done which is why he is willing to allow Batman to complete the job. He trusts that Batman is inherently good and whose moral compass is aligned with Gordon except that he does not operate with a badge. The reality is our society can take extra-judicial steps provided it is in the confines of moral law. This is where he and Harvey Dent are aligned. There will be times when we have to make plays outside of the playbook. This is when the end does justify the means but only if the means do not harm the innocent. 

 

Lucius Fox is Batman’s technical wizard. He will help Bruce. He will do everything in his power to make sure that Bruce will win. Like many people in this world, they are willing to help out in the battle of good and evil. However, Lucius will only help if he isn’t endangered. If he remains unknown and safe from the harm he will help just like most people but when the fight somehow conflicts with certain principles that Lucius thinks are taking it over to the extreme then he hesitates. He does help Batman and compromises his principle but says he will no longer help him after this battle. While people who fight evil are willing to fight hard they have limits and this is what Lucius Fox symbolizes. Lucius is still useful and we should not shun these people but we must recognize early on every individual’s limits before we go to battle with them so we don’t get left behind unawares when they will no longer fight with us.

The Joker is equally interesting. He is non-existent. He is a mortal but without any history or identity. It’s as if he came straight out of hell. It seems a mystical force is guiding him to carry on his plan of destruction. He only lives to destroy. There is no happiness or hope in him. The Joker seems to have found his purpose. A clear purpose is to destroy and torment Batman by destroying Gotham. Money is just a tool for the Joker. This is what makes the Joker so dangerous. When an evil person does not quest money but something else it is where this person becomes even more dangerous. There is no rhyme or reason with the Joker. He is simply evil. The only way to deal with evil is to eliminate it when you can but never fight it on its terms. This is what separates Batman from most people who clearly know where the limit is. 

How then can we relate this to this current reality? As we all know, movies are products of people’s ideas which only come from this world. The movie is hyperrealism of this world and Batman symbolizes the need to combat this. This real-world may not necessarily need a superhero even if one becomes available. But it needs something that will tackle evil to the very core. It needs a new system that will allow and understand the inadequacies of the justice and political system to check itself. Since we cannot have the incorruptible Batman in our world the next best thing we can do is make his principles into reality. We must be guided by a principle that is objective and incorruptible. This principle has always been with us and we only look upon it when everything is too late, just like Batman. Batman symbolizes the momentary triumph over evil but not the total triumph. 

The total triumph is symbolized by all the people of Gotham fighting as one and refusing to be like the Joker and his henchmen. This is when the realization of Batman becomes ever more apparent. Batman becomes more than a man. He becomes an example. Like the Joker, Batman is not motivated by money or fame because he refuses to reveal his identity. 

So what is evil? Evil is anything that goes against the moral principle. The moral principle is very basic. It is deeply rooted in every man. The moral principle may not even require faith in God. Religious principles sometimes even go against moral principles. In the Batman saga, Bruce Wayne does what he does probably in honor of what his parents stood for. Bruce has been raised with correct principles by his father. This is where his consciousness of evil and the need to fight it is formed. His mysterious encounter when he falls into the cave opens up the Batman inside him but gets activated gradually after the murder of his parents. 

If ever the movie fell short of covering all the bases it was in the little things. Small scenes like Batman teaching a boy or girl about being honest and truthful could have been inserted. Of course, it did touch on the subject of having a good family being a good foundation for a person as depicted by Bruce’s father and mother. Before Bruce became the great Batman, he started as an ordinary kid who was guided by his parents with correct principles. Vengeance certainly is not one of these principles. The movie covered the battle of good and evil at its most extreme when everything was out of hand many times over. Of course, you can never expect the movie to cover the entire ethos of the eternal battle.

Movies like this rarely come. Movies that have been very well thought out and show that humanity can do masterpieces and excellently portray reality. Perhaps in the future violence and carnage will no longer be part of movies when humanity has transcended their understanding and appreciation of the eternal struggle that Batman had no choice but to engage. 

Carlo Leon Sadang

Carlo Leon Sadang is a technical researcher and an engineer. He currently finishing his ebook about ethical and moral standards. He is still actively working as an engineer while writing ebooks on the side. 

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